Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC

UNCTAD commends Nigeria’s consumer protection initiatives on COVID-19

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For the nation’s proaction in the decisive, effective measures it is putting in place to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in recent times, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has commended Nigeria for taking practical actions against price gouging and other anti-consumer activities in the economy.

Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in a statement, said UNCTAD gave the thumbs-up during its recent webinar on “Competition and Consumer Protection in Times of COVID-19” in which top representatives from competition and consumer protection agencies from across the world shared ideas and experiences on managing e-commerce whose usage has witnessed a spike in the wake of the pandemic.

The context for the event is the increasing dependence on digital platforms for online shopping, virtual meeting and learning purposes following the ravaging pandemic.

According to the global body, the growing market power of digital platforms raises concerns for consumers, as well as consumer and competition law enforcers who are trying to adapt their enforcement tools and analysis to the new realities.

Meanwhile, UNCTAD has commended Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), who represented Nigeria

Irukera was especially recognised for his leadership role as demonstrated by FCCPC’s early successive warnings against unfair practices and anti-market behaviour and also for its robust determination to enforce the law against any breaches amid the COVID-19 crisis.

UNCTAD had noted robust actions and positive outcomes in Nigeria, including a warning letter by the FCCPC to sellers engaged in price gouging and arbitrary increases in prices of hygiene products during COVUD-19 outbreak.

Also significant was Jumia’s decision to sweep its platform and delist 360 products belonging to 168 sellers of hand sanitisers and nose masks from its platform for price gouging in response to regulatory action by the regulatory body.

On Nigeria’s experience in enforcing fair competition and protecting consumers on busy online portals, Irukera stated that though challenging, the agency has definitely made progress in this regard.

As regards the ongoing prosecutions, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer clarified that though consumer protection has been the primary focus, competition is very much on the agency’s radar.

It recently opened an investigation into unilateral significant price increase by a dominant player in an industry, Irukera said.

Other participants in the forum are Ms. Maria Carolina Corcione, Director for Consumer Protection, Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, Colombia; Mr. Jongbae Park, Director of International Cooperation, Korea Fair Trade Commission, Republic of Korea; Ms. Alessandra Tonnazzi, Director of the International Affairs Office and Acting Director of the European Affairs Office, Italian Competition Authority, Italy.

Other are Ms. Helena Leurent, Director-General, Consumers International; Mr. Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International; and Ms. Teresa Moreira, Head, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD, who was the Moderator of the webinar.

Kindly Share This Story